Summer delights

The chalk hill blue butterfly is found on chalk and limestone downland

Crickley Hill becomes a fairyland of wildflowers and butterflies in the summer. With so much going on, it's hard to know where to explore first.

The summer months are perfect for getting out and about. From grasslands to woodlands, there's more to Crickley Hill than just great views.

Cowpats and splats

The herd of Belted Galloway cattle is giving nature a helping hand. They act as natural lawnmowers and keep the land in perfect condition so that plants and animals can thrive.

The distinctive Belted Galloway cows
The distinctive Belted Galloway cows
The distinctive Belted Galloway cows

The yellow rattle looks spectacular between May and September. Most of the seed has ripened by late July so you can hear the rattling of the seed inside the bladder. It's said that when you hear the rattle the meadow is ready to be cut for hay.

If you venture further you can see field scabious, harebells, viper's bugloss and the striking bee orchid. They're amazing plants that have evolved bee-like flowers to attract pollinating bees.

Bee orchids flower during the summer
Bee orchids flower during the summer
Bee orchids flower during the summer

It's tempting to pick them but orchids are rare and wonderful and look much better growing in the grass.

Show stopping woodlands

A whooping 600 varieties of fungi can be spotted, putting Crickley Hill in the top six places in the whole country and of huge importance. The chicken-of-the-woods fungus is a real head turner during late summer and autumn.

Some of our favourites include the scarlett bonnet, fairy inkcap and green elfcup.

The scarlet elf cup fungus loves to grow on fallen branches
The scarlet elf cup fungus loves to grow on fallen branches
The scarlet elf cup fungus loves to grow on fallen branches

Wildlife

Summer's not just about the wildflowers. There are loads of butterflies, moths, bees, snails, bats and birds too. You might be lucky and even see an adder basking in the warm summer sun.

Adders do not like to be disturbed
Adders do not like to be disturbed
Adders do not like to be disturbed